When it comes to climate change, it can be hard to know where to start with tackling what is a significantly large problem. It can sometimes feel like we’re chipping away at a huge issue with a teaspoon, but by making some small switches we can encourage ourselves and others to change our mindset and work towards change.
Here, we look at five that you can start to work on today.
1. Think about your appliances
Most modern homes will contain a variety of appliances, from vacuum cleaners to computers. Therefore, it’s vital that you choose sustainable appliances that save energy where possible.
For example, when choosing a vacuum cleaner , there are several key features that you can look for, including a low power motor, lifetime filter, bagless design and a corded model, rather than cordless. Also take a look at the ethics of the company making the appliance – what are their eco-credentials like? If you have a choice between several models, voting with your money in this way can help improve the sustainability of the supply chain.
2. Only buy what you need
From clothes to items for your home, practising an element of minimalism can be really beneficial for the planet. Whilst no one is suggesting you live with a five item capsule wardrobe, choosing to repair items rather than throwing them away and only buying items that you’ll get good use out of can be a good way to reduce your carbon footprint. Make an assessment before you buy, rather than impulse buying.
3. Avoid disposable items
Always choose quality over quantity. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines disposable items (they call them nondurable goods) as products with a lifetime of less than three years, and reported that there was 50.4 million tons of this waste generated in 2018.
To combat this, try and buy products that will last the test of time, and get them repaired when they break, rather than just buying replacements.
4. Turn off the electrics that you’re not using
This is a really simple step that you can take and you should encourage everyone in your household to do the same thing. This goes further than just turning off the lights when you leave a room, although this is a great start. Make sure to turn off TVs, printers and microwaves when you’re not using them in order to maximise energy saving.
Devices such as these continue to use small amounts of electricity to keep them in standby mode. Researchers at Harvard University found that this so-called ‘vampire power’ accounts for 5-10% of electricity in residential homes, and 1% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Needless to say, making a concentrated effort to turn off these devices can really make a difference.
5. Reduce your food waste
Not only will this save you money, but only buying the food you need reduces the energy used by the food supply chain, the amount of air miles generated by food companies, and the energy used to get rid of the wasted food. Get into the habit of creating a meal plan to help with your shopping, and don’t cook more food than you know that you will eat.